PCAT question

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Aug 14, 2003
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I just bought a Kaplan PCAT studying book. Do the questions in there really reflect the questions on the PCAT? They seems to me too hard to do 60 questions in 30 mins, especially those chemistry problems that involve calculations. After looking over the questions, I think I only know about like 20 % of them. Granted, I'm only in my second semester of chemistry, and first semester of biology. I'm planning to take the PCAT in october. If the test like the one in Kaplan, I think i'm gonna do horrible :(

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I would imagine that the Kaplan study book is pretty good. I didn't use that, but Kaplan has a good reputation. I used the Barron's study guide (some like it, some don't), and www.pcatprofessor.com. PCAT Professor was very helpful. You can quiz yourself often, and with many different questions on each topic. It gives you advice, hints, etc. For example, it points out what you should and shouldn't look for on the reading comprehension section. Thiings like that.

The only downside is it is costly (you purchase access to use the site), but if you have the money to invest, it's definitely worth it. I paid ~$60 for a 90-day access, but that was all the time that I needed.

As far as the chemistry goes, that is generally (along with math) the most difficult section, due to time restrictions. There are twice as many problems as there are minutes in which to take those sections, so you have to be able to think quickly and be able to use process-of-elimination guesses in a short amount of time.
Kaplan has been the frontrunner in quality test making material since the beginning of time. I would definately put more confidence in their study material than Barrons or Arco because their review material is more comprehensive and easily understood. Arco and Barrons give elementary practice problems, of which even a bystander could solve.

I think the preparation the Kaplan text provides will give you the edge in doing well. If you can't do the problems now, consider it an opportunity to improve your skills and utilize various study methods.

In my preparation, I actually utilized DAT and MCAT materials so that I could diversify my understanding of various kinds of chemistry and biology problems. The kinds of problems the PCAT texts give are no where close to those you see on the real exam. The PCAT examiners are smart in the sense that design the exams vastly different from PCAT study guides. So it is in your best interests to seek other study materials that can broaden your understanding of subject matter. When you do this, even the test makers can't fail you.
I used the Kaplan book for the PCAT exam. Just wanted to let you know that the practice Chem and Math questions are MUCH harder in the book. Since it's 725 pages, it may seem like a lot of reading, but it's easy and I read the whole thing in about 2 weeks. FYI, I got in the 90% for Chem and 89% for Bio.

If you have more questions about the book or the actual exam, PM me.
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I didn't really use the kaplan, but did use the barron's pcat guide and that hit pretty close to what the exam was like. I just picked up a genchem book and spent like a week reviewing the major ideas, and this was enormously helpful. (98% chem and 94% overall). When I took it, I was in Bio 1, and orgo 1 so kind of the same as you are now. Pretty much I thought that the pcat is sooo basic, even a high school senior can go score well on it. The most important thing, assuming you've put some time studying the basics, is if you're a good test taker and how well you manage your time.
The Kaplan PCAT book is good for subject review, but it's hints , and suggestions and theories on the exam are bogus, because it is a direct rip off of the MCAT book... buy an old edition mcat book and save your $$. I used it and the barrons book and got a 97% overall. The Barron's math section is too easy though.. the actuall PCAT is much harder.
I will only have 1 semester of biology. Will the Kaplan review book cover the materials from the semester 2?
I used Barrons to study for the PCAT and although I did well I do not think Barrons was any help at all. Most of the questions were a lot different than what was on the test. I looked in the Kaplan book and I feel that is a better Studt Guide
Barrons helped me a lot. I don't know if it was the actual content of the book, or the fact that it just kind of calmed me down. The questions were pretty easy, but I thought the PCAT was very similar. Remember that the "extra" sections of the exam aren't scored. We had an extra organic chemistry section, and I pretty much just picked random answers. I ended up with a 96% composite (2002).
Goheel, also keep in mind that they lump a lot of things into the Biology section. There is quite a bit of Anatomy and Physiology questions. I remember having some genetics questons on there, too.

So, to answer your question about the second semester of Biology, I say that it can't help to brush over major topics. Know the order of taxonomy (Kingdom, Phyllum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species) and even the newer version (Prokarya, Archaea, and Eukarya). Then I would brush over fungi, plants, bacteria, and protists, just to have a general idea of what distinguishes them from each other.

The tests are not the same from time to time, so what was on mine won't necessarily be on yours, but it doesn't hurt to know those basic things. :)

A very helpful tool for Biology is the AudioLearn audio tapes (although by now, you'd think they'd have CDs). On AudioLearn, it has Biology and Chemistry (though I think the Chemistry portion wasn't very helpful). However, the Biology portion is a fantastic learning tool. Hope this helps.